Tokenomics: Community Legos for Web3 Social

Soci3

I’m bored.

Seriously, bored out of my mind when attempting to use Instagram or Facebook. Twitter still get’s my juices flowing but all other web2 social platforms give me seizures.

Enter, web3 social.

My brain lights up seeing the possibilities. Although, one alarm bell does go off — My 65 year old mother won’t be able to figure this stuff out.

Web3 social offers infinite customization.

Web2 social is the ultimate standardization.

As you continue reading below, paragraphs italicized like this are some of my favorite insights from Albert’s article.

Before diving deep into Web3, let’s put a framework around Web2. At the center of web2 is the Passion Economy.

Below are snippets of an article written by Albert, publisher of the Soci3 newsletter.

Passion Economy is a term coined by Li Jin and Adam Davidson and refers to the growing number of creators who have been making a living from platforms like Youtube, Twitch or Patreon.

The trend has been huge and accelerating since the early 2010s. Today YouTubers, podcasters and streamers are big business. Channels have millions of fans and podcasters sign massive deals.

Soci3

On Passion Economy platforms several creators have attracted very large audiences and the distribution in followers follows a power law.

Nadia Eghbal, who recently published a book on open-source and platforms, calls these communities “stadiums”. Essentially, stadiums are large communities organized around a single development team or creator.

If you think about it, Twitch channels really look like stadiums sometimes, with thousands of viewers flooding a noisy chat and the streamer in the center of the arena.

Stadium communities are the kings of legacy platforms. They generate a lot of traffic and ad revenues. Moreover, the more time a user sticks with only a few stadiums, the less she is subject to search fatigue (which tends to increase as one scrolls through too much content).

In order to minimize fatigue for users, platforms do a lot of standardization. For example the UI on YouTube is always the same whatever channel you are browsing. The features -chat, like, comment, subscribe- are also identical.

“It is a fact of life that marketplaces have to commoditize the workers and inventory to a certain extent in order to function as a marketplace, to make it easier for consumers to search, reduce cost of search. Everybody on substack is commoditized.” — Li jin observes

Re-Enabling The Long Tail

Legacy platforms offer very little room for customization. In the standardization process, everything is made to eliminate distinctions among communities and the only distinct factor is the creator herself.

Because of that there are no switching costs between stadiums, those communities aren’t sticky and lack boundaries.

Switching costs are mostly for the creators. When you build a massive audience and do not own it, you’re incentivized to stay with that platform and monetize as best you can, before time runs out.

Soci3

The absence of boundaries in a community prevents users of the platform from gradually accruing skin in the game, to build a reputation and to weave ties with other community members.

For people to start contributing to a collective project or resource, they need a reason to do it. A non exhaustive list might be cultural motivations (sense of belonging to a country or religion), affective motivations (ties with friends & family), intrinsic motivations or financial incentives.

Without these boundaries, individuals in the group simply don’t work together.

Back to 2020, crypto projects are using tokens to recreate community boundaries at scale over the internet.

Once a first membrane is in place, people stick around and start doing stuff. Things Happen. Take the case of Ethereum where governance systems, infrastructures and rituals have gradually emerged over the years.

In many parts of the Internet, there is a desire for small sized, or more delineated communities. Wether it is to escape the internet of beefs, run away from incessant noise or to access more customized online environments like the bespoke social media Toby Shorin tells us about in “Come for the Network, Pay for the Tool”.

At the very same time there is a growing demand for agency and ownership in the face of change and inequalities.

Jesse Walden coined the term Ownership Economy referring to tokenized protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Those protocols are living proofs that there is an appetite for a new kind of user owned organization.

In this org model, wealth trickles down to all users for each additional person using the service, reinforcing alignment among members and network effects.

By allowing participants to have economic skin in the game, tokens are a cheap and easy way to delineate a community. Thanks to this first membrane, other longer lasting boundaries can emerge in form of social ties, culture and a customized collaboration environments.

Tokenization As The Lego Baseplate

Soci3

JammSession is a tokenized community launched by Briann Flynn starting with his newsletter followers. It is now growing a universe of chats and products. People interested in joining can buy up some $JAMM tokens and join the permissioned Telegram or Discord.

Contrary to platforms in the passion economy where creators compete against each other for audience, in JammSession members are aligned through ownership of the $JAMM token. As a result competition happens less inside among members but more outside with rival projects or forks (if they exist). The focus shifts from individual competition, which is emphasized on legacy platforms, to intergroup competition.

JammSession is a great example of the new possibilities enabled by Web3 tools for organizing online groups. There are millions of niche use cases that are not properly addressed by the tools and business models of legacy platforms.

Web3 is a very special ground for experimentation thanks to new tools and practices. Because of that, Web3 advocates have a shot at making a difference and help unshackle the long tail.

Beyond Just Tokens: Web3 Community Legos

Soci3

Today Discord is used as the main community organization tool even in advanced crypto projects. As Toby Shorin puts it unique functionality and bespoke interfaces provide distinct advantages that off-the-shelf tooling can never achieve.”

Going deep with customization is antithetic with the idea of templates, but I think reality is already showing Web3 that what people need is 33% legos, 66% customization.

Web2 may remain the leading philosophy in various areas like software production, design or knowledge management, mostly for practical and technical reasons.

We can expect Web3 to infiltrate all sensitive areas of internet orgs, starting with the first piece: Tokenization and later spreading to other functions like memberships & permissioning, dispute resolution, communications, voting, financial management or content distribution.

This article was inspired by Soci3.

Source: https://soci3.substack.com/p/beyond-just-tokens-community-legos

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I’ve spent 15 years working in Web2 advertising. Stories I post will focus on Web3 — mostly on social tokens, with the occasional random post to keep it fresh.

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Jeff Kauffman Jr

Jeff Kauffman Jr

I’ve spent 15 years working in Web2 advertising. Stories I post will focus on Web3 — mostly on social tokens, with the occasional random post to keep it fresh.

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